Nkwichi Blog

Boat-iful Memories

Boats are vital for anyone living along the lakeshore and a real experience for everyone visiting Lake Malawi. They are so common that we often take them for granted. But while watching the fishermen sail by in the beautiful red light of the setting sun, it was time to put them in the spotlight.

The most common one, the dug-out canoe, in essence is a very simple structure: a tree trunk hollowed out from above, with a small open strip on top to reach inside. You’re not supposed to sit inside the boat, but on top of it, making the act of balancing the narrow canoe a real feat. Especially when the wind whips up the waves, its a show to see the fishermen effortlessly going about their business.

Another beautiful sight is the sailing dhow, with its impressive sails and brightly painted wooden body. Early morning and late afternoon, they form a perfect picture in the lake landscape. The dhows serve as fishing boats and cargo vessels, for people and for any kind of goods you can think of. You sometimes see sails made of flour bags stitched together, or dhows filled to the brim with a football team on its way to a match.

Then there are the giants of the Lake; the famous Ilala ferry, Chambo ferry and several smaller but still sizable boats plying the route between Metangula, Likoma and mainland Malawi. Especially the Ilala is a beautiful sight; you can almost picture the people waving from the top deck, and imagine that they must feel like passengers on a big steamship making its way across the oceans.

As for Nkwichi’s fleet, we recently had the pleasure to welcome a new speedboat, ensuring a fast journey to maximize the time you can spend at the lodge. For a less fast-paced experience, our dhow still sails at sunset on your request, blending in with the fishermen on their way out for the night. With a drink in hand, the views over the lake are stunning, and the feeling of freedom unparalleled.

But in whatever shape or size they come, and for whichever purpose they sail, when seeing a boat on Lake Malawi, take a moment to watch them go. For in the end, its often the small things that become the most beautiful memories.